Fruits of Viet Nam: Durian (Sầu Riêng)

It is quite unusual smell makes the Durian one of the most unique fruits to ever exist. Such odour often yield mixed reactions from different people ranging from deep appreciation to pure disgust. Six times larger than the cantaloupe, its green thick, rough, thorn-covered husk looks similar to the jackfruit but its thorns are more projected and definitely sharper. A knife is needed to cut through the outer shell while extra caution is required to break open the rest of the husk to avoid hurting one’s hand from its thorns. Once open, it is noticeable how the inside is divided into cells holding a few of the cream-colored custard-like flesh in every compartment. It is from such rich flesh where the strong smell, which others find specially tempting, while others label as unpleasantly nauseous and offensive, comes from. Even with its shell intact, the odour remains overpowering and penetrating and could be detected from a distance.

Once touched or eaten, the smell stays on one’s breath for hours. For some reason, the Vietnamese calls the fruit Sầu Riêng (one's own sorrows). Durian is indeed an exquisite fruit, and is pretty expensive. But for the many who finds the fruit’s qualities truly fascinating, it’s very much worth the money and experience.

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Lan 2012-05-02

You can try it

Don’t let the smell fool ya

Kirk Lowe 2010-04-18

As to the Durian’s smell – I totally agree. It shoots straight up to my brains as I inhaled the air on that road we came up with all the fruit stalls along the road. It literally consumes the smell of the whole place, even beyond. I swore never even to think about tasting that dreadfully-smelling thorny big chunk of fruit. But when everyone around me was savoring these creamy-coated seeds, I had to at least feed my curiosity. Oh boy – durian is good! I couldn’t keep track of how much I ate after my first try. I’m not sure if it’s the fruit or the road trip, but I felt a little warm that night. The smell lasted for days no matter how I wash my hands off. But I don’t mind that much anymore now that I know it is good after all. I guess I’ll just keep myself from having too much next time.


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